23 scared I have colon cancer

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Apologies in advance for the lengthy post. I'm 23 and have had trouble with diarrhea all my life. Last October I noticed blood in my stool when I wiped. I attributed it to hemorrhoids as I did have a habit of sitting on the toilet too long. Fast forward to about a month ago, I've been experiencing really bad intermittent stomach pain, bleeding, mucus in my stool, mucus that leaks into my underwear, and still putting up with the diarrhea. I sometimes have normal stools, sometimes its thin, sometimes its diarrhea, but as I mentioned I've had sporadic bowel movements my whole life. I am a bit of a worrier, so any little thing sets me off, but I have noticed that over the last week or so I've been constantly burping and feeling nauseous when I eat. I'm terrified this is a sign that the cancer has gotten so advanced its causing an obstruction. Could this really be anything other than colon cancer? I have a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy scheduled for next Wednesday, but part of me thinks "what's the point. If I've waited months since my first symptoms I'm as good as gone anyway" I know that's a horrible way of thinking, but as I said I'm a bit of a worrier. I suffer from severe anxiety. Any insight would be wonderfully appreciated, and I'm so sorry to anyone going through colon cancer that I sound like such a wuss for what could be something else.

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  • Posted

    There are many possible causes of your symptoms of which cancer is the least likely at your age. Bowel cancer generally takes many years to develop. You could have colitis or Crohn’s disease or you may just have irritable bowel which I had very badly at your age and the bleeding may be coming from hemorrhoids as you initially suspected. I found in my case it was food related problems (wheat in moderate to high quantities and broad/baked beans in any quantity). Sounds as if your whole system is unhappy so it may be worth checking you are not coeliac (gluten intolerant). If it’s any help I kicked the irritable bowel stuff in my 30s and have had a relatively calm one ever since unless I eat too many nuts etc. Mucus and particularly pencil like motions usually mean your bowel is in spasm at times and that can easily happen with IBS. Good luck and do get checked out otherwise you will never stop stressing. 
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  • Posted

    Try some probiotics trust me. And get some proponal for the endo 
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    • Posted

      Thank you, Dana. I will definitely try it. I have been taking probiotics here and there, but not as consistently as I should be so I'll probably be a bit more vigilant in doing so.

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  • Posted

    It doesn't mean you have cancer. I had issues like you and it turned out bad, but not cancer. I found out that I have had Crohn's disease since I was very young and it took years for them to figure it out. As one gets older the disease seems to get worse. You may have Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis. If you do it doesn't mean you are going to die, you will have to find a medicine that works to control it and once that is done you will feel better. Just remember whatever the diagnosis it isn't the end, you work with your doctor to figure out a plan to get you feeling better. Once that happens you will look back on this and wonder why you were so stressed out. I am 49 now and I have had issues like you since I was 13. You can live with Crohn's or UC. That may not even be the problem, but it sounds like it to me, but I am not a doctor. The main thing is don't worry, do something you like to do to get your mind off of it. Hang in theresmile

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much, Craig. Its inspiring to see someone such as yourself that has taken so much control with the hand they were dealt. I will do my best to keep my mind occupied in the meantime. It doesn't help that the only sports on TV these days are tennis and baseball lol

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  • Posted

    John

    Well to start with I’ve been a worrier all my life, prone to anxiety and panic attacks>> and admittedly, my cup has ‘always been completely empty’ rather than even half full!  That said, every time I’ve had something go wrong with my body, or I ‘even thought’ there was something wrong with me, I’ve “been sure I’ve had some form of cancer.”   I’m now 67 years old and “have had multiple cancers” which have NEVER turned out to be cancer!  Yes, it does sound like something’s not quite right, but apparently your doctor feels this test should be able to identify what is going on.   

    I had diarrhea for a long while , but the Gastroenterolgist called for a colonoscopy and it turned out that I had an ulcer.    The Dr. put me on an oral med, and I was fine.

    I can’t tell you not to worry, since I’m not a ‘very brave’ patient, but “Do” go ahead with this procedure.  I have a good suspicion that this isn’t cancer but something a lot easier to treat.  Google is not our friend... so I won’t tell you to Not google>>> all I ever get from googling is making me think something is really wrong.  Praying that all goes well for you.   Please Let us know what your results are. 

     

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  • Posted

    Age is very important in cancer generally and bowel cancer particularly. There are of course childhood and young adult cancers but bowel cancer is statistically very much more likely to occur as you get older and it is usually slow developing. So bowel symptoms in your 20s need to be investigated but cancer is a very unlikely cause. By your 50s and 60s, it becomes a greater possibility and whilst most tests will be negative or show something else it does become a real possibility sadly as you grow older. If you have colonoscopies at certain intervals in your life (particularly in your late 40s onwards) it should be avoidable because they literally nip it in the bud. Bowel cancer usually begins with a benign polyp or small growth that over time (usually years) can become malign or cancerous in some cases. So, unlike many other cancers which you only discover when they are already causing trouble, having colonoscopies in middle and older age can stop cancer ever developing. However, cancer is not the only condition your bowel can suffer from. Some are really annoying but harmless like hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome; some are unpleasant and, whilst not immediately or inevitably life-threatening, do need treatment (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease). Some are related to gluten intolerance like coeliac disease. IBS and hyper-acidity are very very common at your age as are the dreaded hemorrhoids, so are far more likely to be the problem. Bowel cancer is right at the other end of the scale at your young age. Bowel cancer is very often symptom-free when discovered. Irritable Bowel Syndrome however, whilst not at all serious, can produce really unpleasant symptoms and a lot of pain. I used to be in agony with it and at one stage it was ruining my life. So get checked. Get a treatment plan for whatever is irritating your gut. If you have got a bit of bleeding from hemorrhoids try some self-help stuff first and try to take your mind off it a bit. The gut has a very rudimentary “brain” so it is very sensitive to stress and which is why something like an exam or other worry can make your guts play up. We even have phrases in our language like “gut-feeling” or “gut-instinct” showing how sensitive the colon is to our state of mind. I suspect a food intolerance night be at the root of your problem and you are stressing out about it which makes your bowel go out of sync. Definitely get tested but don’t fixate on cancer at your age. Anything is possible (which is why it is safer to check) but it really is very unlikely to be bowel cancer and the symptoms don’t sound like it either. Good they are checking your upper part too. You can get a tiny ulcer or irritation in the stomach - even at 23 - and they can check for heliobacter (the bacterium that can upset your stomach) and get rid of it if necessary. Stomach trouble (particularly in the duodenum) can cause gas and bloating which can feel like gut trouble lower down. Best of luck.
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  • Posted

    Update everyone, so I had my colonoscopy and it was clear! I had a little redness in my descending colon, and showed I had hemmerhoids. They think I could possibly have chron's disease. They sent a biopsy back and we'll be doing a barium xray to confirm. I just want to thank you all so much for the reassurance and kind words. If interested I'll keep you guys posted on the follow up. Thank you all again so much.

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